The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Aug. 7 a new annual survey for farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners.


The USDA said this survey will help the agency understand what it is doing correctly and where improvements are needed, specifically at the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Risk Management Agency.


A total selection of 28,000 producers are set to receive the survey over the next few weeks, but all farmers are encouraged to take the survey.


"We want to hear from our customers so we can learn what we’re doing right and where we’re missing the mark," said Bill Northey, undersecretary for farm production and conservation. "Good data is critical to good decision-making. The more responses we receive, the better we can understand what we need to do to improve our services to America’s farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners."


Part of the President’s Management Agenda, this survey requires High Impact Service Provider agencies across the federal government, including FSA and NRCS, to conduct annual surveys to measure and respond to areas in need of improvement.


"We recognize producers and our staff may be experiencing a lot of change in how they interact with USDA," Farm Service Agency administrator Richard Fordyce said. "This is a good time to check in with our customers."


"We will use this input to help improve the delivery of our conservation programs as our sister agencies will do for their programs." Natural Resources Conservation Service chief Matthew Lohr said.


"We’re about our customers," said Risk Management Agency administrator Martin Barbre. "RMA works to provide producers with crop insurance policies that meet their needs and we need to know where we can improve."


The survey has 20 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete, with responses being confidential and individually aggregated. The survey is said to be open for about six weeks at least and will be closed once USDA receives a 30% response rate.


For more information and to take the survey, go to www.farmers.gov/survey.